This old dude is bad ass. Too bad there aren’t many young men like this anymore.
Sixteen children and a handful of their mothers found the only door to their library room blocked by a man who held hunting knives in each hand as he screamed, “I’m going to kill some people!”
Dustin Brown, 19, specifically wanted to kill children Tuesday at Morton Public Library, he said after the would-be victims escaped safely.
Had he brought a firearm instead, “It would’ve been a different story,” James Vernon said Thursday.
Blood was shed, but mostly Vernon’s, because the retired chess club teacher kept his cool, gave his class an avenue of flight and remembered the knife-fight training the Army gave him five decades ago.
Vernon, 75, won his “90 seconds of combat” with Brown, “but I felt like I lost the war,” he chuckled. He cut two arteries and a tendon on Vernon’s left hand as Vernon blocked Brown’s knife swipe.
“I failed my mission to kill everyone,” Brown told police, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit that accompanied formal charges Thursday that included attempted murder.
Brown, of 300 Fernwood St., said he’d been planning to kill people and then himself for two weeks, the affidavit stated. With two knives in his backpack, their handles wrapped in tape for better grip, he entered the library at about 3:25 p.m.
“I knew he was right-handed. He was whittling on his left arm” with the one in that hand, “making small cuts. He was trying to scare me, and he did.” But if Brown attacked, “I knew which hand it was coming from.”
Brown slashed from the right towards Vernon, who blocked the blade with his left hand. “I should have hit his wrist. That’s how you’re trained, but it’s been half a century,” he said.
“First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,” said Vernon, who was trained but never served in combat. Vernon’s medium build was enough to overcome his smaller attacker.
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